Melvindale enrolls in water bill aid program

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Melvindale has become the latest community to enroll in a program that helps residents struggling with water bill payments, officials announced Thursday.

Touted as the first of its kind in the state, the Great Lakes Water Authority Water Residential Assistance Program, known as WRAP, focuses solely on providing assistance for residential water services, officials said.

“I encourage residents who qualify to take full advantage of all the program benefits,” Melvindale Mayor Stacy Bazman said in a statement Thursday. “Bill payment assistance is just one component of the program. There is also education, conservation and home repair services that can help residents lower their bills.”

The Great Lakes Water Authority provides water and wastewater services to 127 municipalities in seven counties in southeast Michigan.

Since its start in March 2016, 58 communities have joined the authority’s WRAP program. Communities include Detroit, Dearborn and Northville in Wayne County; Fraser, Clinton Township and Sterling Heights in Macomb County and Royal Oak, Farmington Hills and Hazel Park in Oakland County.

Residents have access to resources such as payment assistance of up to $1,000 a year, water savings kits and home repairs up to $1,000 to fix plumbing issues.

In Detroit, there are 5,766 households enrolled in the program. Among them, 558 have received minor home plumbing repairs valued at $325,000 since March 2016.

WRAP is funded from a half-percent of GLWA revenue each fiscal year. Funding for the coming fiscal year is $4.9 million, officials said.

“The authority is proud to be able to extend this important benefit to Melvindale to assist their residents in need,” said water authority CEO Sue McCormick. “It is my hope that more member communities will follow Melvindale’s lead in joining the program and giving their residents a pathway towards self-sufficiency.”

Qualifications for the program include an income at or below the 150 percent federal poverty threshold and proof of residency within the water authority service area. Households with water usage 20 percent or more above average must receive a home water audit and install water conservation measures.

To apply for WRAP, call (313) 386-9727.